The PLAYERS Championship
Written by: Ian Robins
The Tour heads to iconic TPC Sawgrass located just outside of Jacksonville, Florida. The PLAYERS has quickly become the richest prize pool of all the tournaments all year including the majors. As this title holds much value and prestige for the players, it also has the money to back it up. TPC Sawgrass is the ultimate mix of challenges, tests, conditions, and tour manipulation to control conditions as much as possible. The course is average length, playing a PAr 72, 7100 yards. It is a PEte Dye design, which means lots of trap and dog legs throughout and forced layups, which takes distance out. There is also a drivable par 4, as is standard on Dye courses. The iconic hole 17 is a mean 120 yard par 3 surrounded by an island green. The grass is not thick, but scrambling will be important. The green is an overseeded Bermuda which is pristine and putts a little easier than normal. This is a truly unpredictable course, where course history is almost a non factor. Weather will be important to keep an eye on as winds and rains are expected all weekend. Ball strikers and iron aces will be the targets along with all around players in great form on the Florida swing.
The top players in the world are all out for this tournament as the biggest prize is on the line. Jon Rahm is the deserving favorite, while defending champion Justin Thomas sits right behind him on the odds board. World's number 2 Colin Morikawa along with world number 3 Viktor Hovland come in in fine form ready to cash in as well. All of these players are viable for DFS purposes, but I will try and wait a little longer into the weekend to try and steal a better number and hope to cash in. With emphasis on strong iron play and ball striking, all of these players will be at the top.
The middle range is quite interesting with a lot of very good players that have some higher than normal numbers on them. I will start with 2 of the very best players in the world in Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffle. Both of these are world class players, and play even better in top fields. Hesitation on both would be that they are more west coast players, however, TPC Sawgrass does have some west coast elements and can be beneficial to these two. Both would love to add a win like this to their resume. One more player in this range to target is Scottie Scheffler. Scottie has gotten the first win monkey off his back and is absolutely rolling. Always a great player in tough fields and tough courses, Scheffler has 2 wins in his last 3 starts. He comes in with an exceptional all around game and cannot be ignored.
A couple of long shots I want to target here are players who are in exceptional form heading into The Players and who have constantly been near the top of leaderboards. Billy Horschel and Gary Woodland have posted back to back top 20s and 10s respectively. Both have great pedigree as champions as Horschel won the Match Play last year, while Woodland is a former US Open champion. Both have found all around success in Florida, and both can contend here on Sunday.
A couple of other long long shots worth mentioning are Cam Young and KH Lee. Young has been one of the best and most consistent players this past month. His strong tee to green game has been incredible, and his two wins last year on the Korn Ferry Tour are no fluke. Young is still priced past his talent and a strong DFS play. KH Lee has been extremely consistent the past 12 months, including 1 win. He plays his best on TPC courses and has a great run finding himself at or near the top of leaderboards. I like him as a potential play in DFS along with some derivative markets.